Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires
Who knows how serious writer/director Don Coscarelli was when he ended his 2002 film Bubba Ho-Tep with the Bond-style credit “Elvis returns in Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires.” On one hand, it sounds like a joke. On the other, Bubba Ho-Tep tells the story of an elderly Elvis (who faked his own death) and a black JFK fighting an Egyptian mummy in a retirement home, so who knows what’s a joke? The point is, Bubba’s fervent cult audience has been waiting over a decade now for that sequel, but even with the promised participation of Paul Giamatti (as Colonel Tom Parker, of course), it still hasn’t happened.
You’d be forgiven for not spending much of your life wondering why there was never a sequel to Making the Grade, the utterly forgettable 1984 collegiate comedy starring Judd Nelson, Dana Olsen, and a young Andrew Dice Clay. But it, too, ends with the promise of more shenanigans from its incorrigible leads: “Palmer and Eddie will be back in Tourista, Coming soon.” Cannon, the Chuck Norris/Charles Bronson-leaning company that released Making the Grade, was a bit of a sequel factory in the mid-‘80s, so one can perhaps pardon their enthusiasm, but even that company couldn’t translate the film’s seventh-place opening and $4.5 million gross into a call from the masses for Tourista.
Masters of the Universe II
And Cannon strikes again. Their 1987 adaptation of the popular toy line and cartoon was intended to kick-start a high-profile franchise for the company; they even nabbed good ol’ respectable Frank Langella to play Skeletor (alongside Dolph Lundgren’s He-Man and Courtney Cox as a curious teenager swept along for the “adventure”). The film climaxes with He-Man triumphant over Skeletor, sending the villain to his presumed death in a deep moat — but after the end credits roll, Skeletor raises his head from the muck and announces, “I will be back!” Come to find out, he wouldn’t; by the time of Masters’ release, the toys and cartoon had peaked in popularity, and the film’s bargain-basement production values didn’t help much for word of mouth. But Cannon still wanted to do a sequel — this time at a fraction of the original’s $22 million cost, and shot simultaneously with their long-delayed Spider-Man adaptation — but they couldn’t come to terms with Mattel to extend licensing rights. Instead, the sets and costumes intended for those films were used for the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Cyborg.
In contemplating what the hell happened to the once-funny Martin Lawrence, enough indignities cannot be slung at Black Knight, his astonishingly simple-minded and unfunny 2001 riff on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. You see, he’s not really a knight, ’cause he’s Martin Lawrence, and he’s black, so Black Knight, and COMEDY IS HARD. At any rate, the film ends (and there is much cheering across the land) with a set-up for a sequel: Lawrence’s character takes another theme-park tumble, similar to the one that sent him on this wacky adventure in the first place, and he lands in an ancient Roman arena, surrounded by tigers. Can you imagine the hijinks that would’ve ensued? Thankfully, all you can do is imagine them: Even the Mensa members who’d embraced Big Momma’s House knew a stinker when they saw one, and the $50 million Black Knight stalled at $33 million.
History of the World Part II
It must be noted that, particularly in comedy films, these promised sequels are often merely just another joke. Dan Aykroyd’s 1983 pimp comedy Doctor Detroit closed with the promise of Doctor Detroit II: The Wrath of Mom (a play on the recently released Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and a high-larious bit of wordplay that should give you an idea of the top-shelf comedy to be found in Doctor Detroit), for example, and Mel Brooks’s 1981 sketch comedy patchwork History of the World Part I ends with an extended trailer for the surely-in-jest History of the World Part II, including such segments as a Viking funeral, Hitler on Ice, and a sci-fi parody called Jews in Space. Though he never made HotW Part II, his next directorial effort, 1987’s Spaceballs, was basically a feature-length version of Jews in Space.